(By Charlie Sislen) Former Detroit Radio Advertising Group President Bill Burton used to say, “If you don’t care about your customers … someone else will.”
In typical times this is true, but we are not in typical times. Everyone is suffering, probably even you. While some people’s health is suffering, just about every radio sales rep is suffering financially. It may be difficult, but now is not the time to think about your financial losses, but to show care and feeling to your advertisers. Many, if not most, are suffering. Many, especially those small retailers, are fighting to keep from permanently closing their doors.
So what can an effective sales rep do?
The first step is offering your clients, and potential clients, emotional support. Regularly checking in with those who are hurting is just the right thing to do. You may not be able to help a closed business to reopen their doors, but you can help the suffering business owner with emotional support.
For those that are open but still struggling, do what you can. In speaking with several market managers, they have given their sales team total flexibility to do “what is right.” This may include free air-time.
Does free deliver a commission? Obviously, NO. However, not only is it the right thing to do, but the short-term good can lead to long-term benefit. As the economy opens up, and marketing budgets start to flow, many will remember how you treated them when their advertising budgets were zero. They will remember the emotional support as well as the financial support.
It is not only the right thing to do, but it is also smart business.
How would you react if a vendor went out of their way to help you? All of a sudden, they are no longer a vendor, but a partner. “Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you.”
Charlie Sislen is a partner at Research Director, Inc. He can be reached at 410-956-0363 or by e-mail at [email protected]. This essay is part of a series titled “Growing the Radio Pie.” To view past articles, visit The Ratings Experts at Research Director, Inc. online here.